Shooting Film Without a Lightmeter

I started off doing photography by using film, and a camera I bought off of Ebay for ten dollars. I used my grandfather’s light meter to set my lighting at first, but eventually started shooting photos without it. If you don’t know what a light meter is, here is a link to one similar to what I used: http://www.rockycameras.com/cased-aico-vintage-light-meter-199-38794-p.asp

Light meters measure the amount of light outside or inside so the photographer knows which f-stop and shutter speed to use in certain types of lighting, hence, resulting in the perfectly exposed photo. Usually. 

I’ve been shooting film so long that I automatically know which f-stop and shutter speed to adjust my camera to. If you have a high ISO film, you are usually better in low light and can eyeball the lighting situation as to which shutter speed and f-stop to set your camera too. 

For example, if you’re shooting on a semi-cloudy day with a film ISO of 100, you only need to set your f-stop (depending on your lens), to 1.8 with a shutter speed of around 1000. The following images are all shot on a similar day using ISO 200 or 400 color film, with a f-stop of 1.8 and a shutter speed around 1000. 

 Photo by: Rachel Adshead

Photo by: Rachel Adshead

 Photo by: Rachel Adshead

Photo by: Rachel Adshead

 Photo by: Rachel Adshead

Photo by: Rachel Adshead

 

This setting is not a rule for cloudy days, and sometimes you have to adjust a little according to the light, but I haven’t had a problem with exposure even without using a light meter. 

The best thing you can do is to play around with settings and maybe shoot a test roll of film or two. Shooting film can become pricey if you don't have your own darkroom, but It definitely is worth it every once in awhile. 

Here is a link to an excellent website if anyone is interested in shooting film or knowing more about it: http://www.shootingfilm.net/2013/07/a-beginners-guide-to-film-photography.html